As the global leader in produce there are many critical steps that we must follow in our industry – from the intricate growing process and crop optimization, to harvesting, packing house operations, delivering high quality fruit to our growers around the world, and every critical logistics step in between.
Every step is taken with pride for the final and most important step of the process – the customer. Vanguard International CEO Craig Stauffer received an email recently that helped to remind everyone about the power of every unique story behind the produce.
This particular exchange begins when a customer from Minnesota reached out through the Vanguard website to share her experience with a recent Vanguard Fresh™ grape purchase. What ensued was a heartwarming trip back through generations of a specific family of grape growers.
Shared below is taken from the exchange between the customer and Vanguard CEO Craig Stauffer, and only shortened to remove personal details.
“I just wanted to share that I just had the best red seedless grapes I’ve ever tasted since eating the ones my great grandfather used to grow. I purchased them at Mississippi Market in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Thank you for bringing back memories of him. Cheers and best of health”
This caught Craig’s attention who wanted to ensure this customer’s shared memories were indeed received and celebrated by the entire team that is behind getting these grapes from our team in Peru to this person’s dinner table.
“Thank you very much for your positive feedback, which is greatly appreciated!
We are delighted that you enjoyed our Red Seedless grapes from our farms in Peru. I’m sure that you purchased one of our unique special varieties named Sweet Celebration. We would like to send you a box, which we will pack especially for you with both Red and Green Seedless, and a few bags of Black Seedless too in appreciation for your feedback.
Thanks again Regan and have a wonderful day!
To which the customer replied with additional details:
“My great grandfather came over from Germany. He had a very small farm where he grew mostly white grapes and made a sweet wine from them. I remember my family getting together to help harvest the grapes. The smell of your grapes took me back there!
Such a wonderful memory to have during these challenging times – thank you again so much.”
Quickly turning into produce pen pals Craig shared his own thoughts on the German grape growing region:
“Thanks for your message and address details, and thanks again for your feedback – happy we could help bring back your fond memories. I expect that you will receive the package on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Sounds to me like your great grandfather grew Riesling wine grapes to make trocken Spatlese – one of my favorites when I studied in Tubingen, Germany.
Thanks again and enjoy your Sunday!
The back and forth continued a few more times with the customer sharing news of her family diving into the custom Fedex delivery of Vanguard Fresh™ grapes, and how they even baked some up in a special recipe entitled “Smitten Kitchen’s Harvest Roast Chicken with Grapes, Olives, and Rosemary” for a special family dinner. She also shared a number of photos from her family’s album from the 1970’s of her great grandfather harvesting her family’s vineyard and making wine of grapes into wine.
The final note back from Craig thanked this customer again for her walk down memory lane that all began with a specific vine of grapes.
Craig signed off in German,
“Es freut mich sehr dass Sie unsere trauben genissen, Mit freundlichen grussen”
“I am very pleased that you are enjoying our grapes, Sincerely yours”
The home page of the Vanguard website shares Vanguard’s commitment: “In over 30 years, the Vanguard community has grown more than produce. We have also grown together, forming relationships that inspire and enable us to serve our customers more fully and effectively than any other produce provider.”
Now more than ever that rings true, and we are grateful for this customer’s walk down memory lane that reminds everyone in the industry that we are growing more than produce.
We are growing memories!